Dan in Real Life… Steve Carrell IS growing as an actor!

LOS ANGELES - OCTOBER 24:  Actors Dane Cook (L...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Hey all…

So this is the 2nd of four movie reviews I hope to post this week… We had a chance to watch Dan in Real Life on DVD over the weekend. Honestly I didn’t know any more about it than it was a Steve Carrell/Dane Cook movie and Carrell’s character had daughters. That was all the promos on television pointed out to me.

Here‘s the IMDB link…

However, this was actually quite good as a movie I thought. Steve Carrell is actually becoming a decent actor!

Steve Carrell as Dan Burns and Juliette Binoche as Marie had great chemistry as a 40-something couple to be. Amazingly enough I could actually stand Dane Cook in a role (as Dan’s brother Mitch) for once. (IMHO Dane Cook can be funny the first time you see his stand-up act, but to me he gets old quickly.)

Carrell actually played a role instead of his usual goofy self in this movie, which I found appealing. It was the same reason I liked him in Little Miss Sunshine also. (Have to admit I’m looking forward to the Get Smart movie later this year, but for very different reasons than this film. 🙂

Alison Pill as daughter Jane, Brittany Robertson as daughter Cara, and Marlene Lawston as daughter Lilly made this movie come alive for me. They were the bits that held the story together and worked great together. (I’m sure that as a father of two daughters, that’s what drove this home for me.)

To round out the cast, they had Dianne Wiest as Dan’s mom and John Mahoney as Dan’s dad. Can’t ask for better parents than that.

The others were great also, but it was Carrell, Cook, the daughters, and parents that really stood out for me.

Didn’t hurt that Emily Blunt put in a performance as Dr. Ruthie Draper either. She got our attention in the Devil Wears Prada and played this role to the teeth also.

The story, just so you know, deals with Dan and his daughters heading to his parents for a yearly family gathering. Dan has been a widow for a while, and his first day back at his parents place, he goes for a newspaper and runs into Marie, a gorgeous well-traveled woman who he talks to for hours…

What really made this story work was the family interactions. This wasn’t just about Steve Carrell or Dane Cook or any of the big name actors in the movie — it was about relationships and family and moving on with your life. It was an excellent script from Peter Hedges (who also directed the movie) and Pierce Gardner.

In terms of Steve Carrell movies, this one will come in #2 behind Little Miss Sunshine, but will still beat out my other two Carrell favorites — Evan Almighty and The 40 Year Old Virgin.

I give this movie a solid 4 out of 4 stars — worth a watch if you like Carrell and family comedy/dramas.

Until next time… Enjoy the movies!

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  1. I’m looking forward to Get Smart with Steve Carrell. I really like him in the NBC comedy The Office, but didn’t like him in Evan Almighty. He also did a good job being the voice of the Mayor of Who-ville in Horton Hears A Who.

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